A lot of people are still wondering if there will be a fourth stimulus check in 2021.
There has been some support for it in Congress with more than 80 members of Congress signing letters urging the president to approve a fourth stimulus check, including seven members of the House Ways and Means Committee who recently joined.
(That committee carries a lot of weight in stimulus/spending negotiations.)
Supporters have pointed out that a fourth and potentially a fifth stimulus check would keep an additional 12 million people out of poverty.
These lawmakers did not specify an exact dollar amount for the new payments but I doubt we would expect anything on the level that went out before.
Furthermore, I think a lot of people anticipate that any more stimulus checks will be even more targeted than before, perhaps going to those who are truly in need.
The economy is opening back up and seems to be coming back but things are still not quite where they were before the pandemic.
For example, the latest job report showed that 9.3 million people are still unemployed and in February 2020 that figure was 5.8 million. That’s still a major gap (although unemployment benefits probably are playing a large role).
A study from the University of California — Berkeley, also showed that around 6 million renters still owe close to $20 billion in back rent. That’s obviously a huge issue for both tenants and landlords.
But the biggest support for more stimulus checks may come from the figure showing how people have used the checks in early 2021.
The last two rounds of stimulus checks have helped many Americans with basic needs related to food, housing, and mental health. For others, it has meant being able to cover other needs like clothing and life insurance.
President Biden has not openly supported additional payments but his spokesperson indicated that Biden is not ruling out the possibility of an additional check.
“The president is certainly open to a range of ideas,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
“He’s happy to hear from a range of ideas on what would be most effective and what’s most important to the economy moving forward.”
So an additional round of stimulus checks is still in play but it will face a lot of opposition, especially from Republicans. And it seems to be one of the lower priorities right now, behind infrastructure projects and other initiatives.
So I wouldn’t rule out another check coming but I would still say that it seems unlikely we will see another check anytime soon.
More than 2 million people have endorsed a Change.org petition calling for $2000 monthly recurring stimulus checks.
The petition was posted on Change.org last year by Stephanie Bonin, a restaurant owner in Colorado.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis,” Bonin wrote.
“Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table.”
“Congress needs to make sure that we won’t be left financially ruined for doing our part to keep the country healthy.”
So far, there have been three rounds of stimulus checks: a $1,200 check, $600 check and $1,400 checks.
But many argue that these three checks are simply not enough to get people through the pandemic.
“Another single check won’t solve our problems – people are just too far behind,” Bonin wrote.
“Like we’ve been saying from the beginning of this pandemic, people need to know when the next check is coming. And the best thing our government can do right now is send emergency money to the people on a monthly basis.”
The petition has certainly amassed a ton of support but I don’t think it will be enough.
Sending out recurring checks is a very radical approach to stimulus relief. While some Democrats in Congress do support this initiative, they are definitely in the minority.
Issuing out recurring monthly checks would be extremely expensive and it was already quite the challenge to get the last round of stimulus checks passed.
No Republicans were on board and even some moderate Democrats were barely supportive.
Now that we have vaccines rolling out in full force and the lockdowns and even mask mandates are disappearing, I just don’t see any way recurring checks become a thing.
Millions of Americans are still waiting to receive their third stimulus check from the government but there is already talk swelling up about a fourth check.
Over 75 members of Congress have already gone on record stating that until the pandemic is over, there should be regular stimulus checks.
“We are experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with millions of Americans either unemployed, forced out of the workforce or facing a decline in hours and wages,” a letter from 56 House Democrats said.
Democratic senators also jumped on board in support of more stimulus aid:
“Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead,” they wrote.
And now President Biden is facing pressure to include them in a $2.3 trillion infrastructure spending plan that he is working on.
Proponents of a fourth stimulus check point out that more than 7 million people could be lifted out of poverty, according to an analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.
In addition, about four in 10 Americans state that their income remains below the pre-pandemic levels. So clearly, there are still a lot of people struggling in the country as a result of the coronavirus.
But right now it is not clear that there is enough support in Congress for a fourth stimulus check.
It seems like it might be very difficult to get moderate Democrats on board with the idea right now, especially considering that they struggled to support the last round of stimulus checks.
And we can pretty much assume that all Republicans would vote against another round of checks.
And in the White House, the Biden administration is turning its attention to other priorities like this massive infrastructure proposal.
As far as what is happening in the real world, vaccines are going out at a record pace and the stock market and unemployment rates are looking pretty good.
So the need for another economic stimulus payment isn’t looking like it is growing.
I still think there may be a chance for an extremely targeted stimulus check round in the future but as far as another wide disbursement, I don’t think that is probably very likely.
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